Your March Issue: The Eye-Opening Eating Disorders Story Every Student Needs to Read

Kim Tranell

Dear Teachers, 


In your brand new March issue, you'll find what is perhaps the very first Choices story ever pitched by my 68-year-old dad. A passionate Penn State football fan, he texted me a link to an article about the team's kicker, who was in treatment for an eating disorder: "Great story for Choices," he wrote (probably from his favorite power blue arm-chair). I couldn't have agreed more. 


As a teen, my father was there as I struggled to help one of my best friends through anorexia. What neither of us understood at the time was that her pursuit of thinness was not a goal--but a byproduct of a complex and brutal disease rooted in genetics and mental health. 


That's why I am delighted to share our myth-busting eating disorders feature with you. Through the arresting image of a male football player and the stories of three real teens in recovery, your students will not only learn the complicated risk factors and warning signs of these diseases--but they'll also gain a fuller understanding of the stereotypes and stigmas that prevent many teens from getting help. 


The Choices team has put together a fantastic support package to help you bring this difficult topic to life in your classroom. Here's just a sampling!


1. A Riveting Feature Story With Fantastic Graphics!

This piece was designed to change perceptions of eating disorders, and it would be nothing without the teens who were brave enough to open up to Sandy Fernandez, one of our most cherished freelance writers--or without the help and support of the National Eating Disorders Association and the Binge Eating Disorder Association. Have your students read it with a focus on this essential question: How can I help someone who is engaging in unhealthy eating behavior?


2. An Invaluable Guided Reading Experience

To encourage even deeper thinking, have your students read the story online, where it is annotated with key definitions and critical-thinking questions. Our two-part ANNOTATED READING worksheet is designed to force teens to make crucial connections they might not otherwise make--between myths and stigmas, for example, and also between stigmas and barriers to seeking care. 


3. A Powerful Video 

Every month, we scour the web for the very best videos to engage your students in the topics covered, and this month, we were delighted to discover I Am Enough: Recovering from an Eating Disorder from BuzzFeedYellow. In it, a teen girl tells her story of struggling with an eating disorder--scrapbook-style--and what it did to her body. We're confident it will only further empathy and understanding about these brutal diseases. Find it under this month's videos in our Video Archive.


4. A Positive Extension Activity 

While understanding eating disorders as mental and physical diseases is surely crucial, we firmly believe that encouraging positive body image and helping teens identify other coping skills is an even more important part of your body unit. End it with our SO MUCH MORE Extension Activity (see p. T5 of the March Teacher's Guide) and worksheet, which will engage students in a little art therapy--by first exploring the many facets of their unique identity, and then making a collage to represent it! 


I'd also love to encourage you to check out our TEACHING TOUGH TOPICS: What You Need to Know About Teaching Eating Disorders post before you plan and execute your lesson. As always, it will help you approach this difficult subject with the utmost care--and also assist you in anticipating your students' questions. 






This month's debate looks at the ever-expanding emoji lexicon. Are these emotional characters a threat to modern language, or are they an asset for expression? Let teens decide!

When it comes to bullying, it's easy for teens to stand on the side and blend in. Teach teens how to stand up to bullying and hate, even in subtle ways that make a real difference. 

This story uncovers the stealthy tricks that stores use to hook shoppers, helping teens learn just how they can be better consumers!



Take a look at this debate from last year with your teens. Do advertisements create unrealistic standards of beauty for teens?

Ninety percent of girls say they have been bullied based on the way they look. Teach teens about the risks of body-shaming language.

Binge-Eating Disorder is sometimes misdiagnosed simply as overeating, but it's a dangerous illness that requires professional help. 


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